POMEROY — The first Pomeroy Village Council meeting of the year included the appointment of council president, along with other procedural action.
Council set 2017 meetings to occur on the first and third Mondays each month, and adopted Robert’s Rules of Order as the official council rules of decorum; they further appointed Don Anderson as council president, and reappointed Chris Tenoglia as village solicitor and Linda Warner as village magistrate.
A total of $2960.07 in bills were paid. The village will renew their property and liability insurance policies with Kinder Insurance.
Clerk Sue Baker requested council give her explicit direction on a water and sewer fee. She said the money was originally marked as a loan repayment fee, and was deposited entirely into the sewer fund. However, legal language was added at some point that gave options for money to be deposited into the sewer fund, water fund, or capital improvements.
Baker said the fee was a major reason the sewer loan payments have stayed low, but “it would be better applied at this point to the water fund, which is in much worse shape.”
Capital improvements designated for the fund would include, for example, road repairs related to water damage.
Given that the money originates from a fee charged to water and sewer customers, council member Phil Ohlinger said “I have no problem applying it to water. I do kind of have a problem applying it to potholes.”
Council directed Baker to split the money between the water and sewer funds.
Paige Cleek, owner of Front Paige Outfitters on Main Street, spoke to council regarding the parking meter experiment in downtown Pomeroy.
The village has refrained from enforcing parking meters on Main Street and the river parking lots for several months.
“I don’t know what feedback the council has heard from customers and merchants, but it has been very well received. Every day someone has mentioned it,” she said.
“We feel very good about having them removed,” she added, and asked how other merchants could give their input.
The new parking meter system generated $7,205 in the first year, but were not emptied regularly in 2016 because the key went missing according to council discussion. Income for 2016 is not yet calculated.
The new parking meters were noted by council to have cost initially $15,900, though it is not clear whether that number accounts for installation, enforcement, and upkeep.
Council member Maureen Hennesey said “At the time Chief (Mark) Proffitt recommended (parking meters), part of it was difficulty of repair and other issues with the old meters due to age…our purpose was management and parking control, not revenue.”
The discussion regarding parking meters is anticipated to resume at the next meeting.
Other business brought by council members and audience members included discussions of heat in the village garage.
Ohlinger updated council on attempts to bring down fall and winter heating costs at the village garage.
He said his earlier proposal for smaller, more efficient gas space heaters was impeded by a lack of available gas hookups.
Said Ohlinger, “I think the solution for the garage is to heat work areas instead of heating air,” and that he would continue examining other types of heaters.
Mayor Bryan Shank and Baker stated Police Chief Mark Proffitt would return Jan. 16 at the earliest. Jim Webster has been filling in as acting chief of police in Proffitt’s absence.
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.